Thoughts Create Feelings
This is the third of a series introducing the concepts of the model (see bottom left) that I use to coach clients. Today we’re stepping into the second line: “Thoughts”. So far, we’ve learned how to separate your circumstance from your thoughts and why that’s important. We also learned that circumstances are neutral. Today, I’ll expound on the concept that:
It’s our thoughts about a circumstance (and not the circumstance itself) that create our feelings (whether positive or negative).
Usually when I tell client’s this for the first time, they have the same response. They tilt their head slightly and then fall silent, with perplexed expression while considering its validity. They know this on a cognitive level, but in the moment, it doesn’t feel true. Part of this is due to our culture, and part of it is from our well-meaning caregivers who intended to teach us empathy and manners. All our lives we’ve heard things like:
The only chance we would have of feeling better would be to change the circumstance. Which usually means changing someone else. By the time people see a coach, they’ve already been trying to change the circumstance (including other people) with no success. But if it is in fact your thoughts that are making you feel bad, you’ve just regained all your power, my friends. It means you are not a victim to your feelings. You now understand where they are coming from, which is also the key to how to change them.
We ALL get tripped up by our thoughts.
To prove it, I’ll share my recent mind drama when I spent an entire day creating videos for my coaching clients. I’d written the content, researched & downloaded the software, tested my sound and camera, and shot 3 1/4 videos when my screen froze and a rude message indicated my (4 month-old!) hard drive was out of space. To beat that, my mic. had stopped working halfway through the first one. When I met with my coach the next day, she got what I thought was an objective report of what had happened. “I”m just so frustrated by the technology!” Did you catch it? Because of my circumstance.
First she asked for the facts: “I made 3 videos without sound and am out of hard drive space.” Then she asked, “So what?” I told her that “The tech keeps hanging me up. It’s causing all these delays and costing me time.” She asked what our master coach probably thinks when her technology doesn’t work as planned. I thought for a bit and then imagined: “I’ll figure it out. I’ve figured out lots of tech. already. I don’t need the videos. I can just teach the content in their sessions. The videos are just a bonus. With all the videos and content I’m creating, I should probably get an external drive anyway.” And then my coach asked me two questions that made me laugh out loud: “Could you record the videos without a mic.?” (That hadn’t even crossed my mind. I was too focused on what I’d planned to see what was possible.) And my personal favorite, “What if this is exactly how you learn technology?” Mind. Blown. Of course. We can’t learn anything without the learning process. We’ve never done anything until we do it for the first time. Nothing has gone wrong here.
Not sure how to apply this to your own life? Why not do a mini session with me?
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